The numbers speak for themselves. Interest in The Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake has been phenomenal: It’s January and already 108 parties in 2016 are booked.
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board followed staff’s recommendation and agreed to raise the prime time rental prices for the facility on Feb. 1.
The resident fee rate will go up by $25 to $100 per hour. The non-resident fee of $95 per hour will increase to $120. Prime time parties are booked at a minimum of four hours. The busiest times are Friday afternoon/evening, Saturdays and Sundays. Stephanie Simpson, superintendent of recreation, said she has already booked every Saturday in September.
Simpson said demand for the facility is high and some parties have been turned away. Since the clubhouse opened in October 2015, she estimates approximately 7,000 people have been guests at parties.
“You can imagine with that many people going through the facility we are experiencing wear and tear already. In order to keep the facility meeting the high expectations and standards of the park district and the community, we are investing a lot of staff time for general upkeep and money for supplies,” she informed the board.
Board members said they hoped for success, but they really didn’t know what to expect when they were planning for the facility. They have been pleasantly surprised by the community’s overwhelming interest and response.
Some requests have already been turned down because the time and date was booked. “That’s a terrible problem to have!” said board member Dallas Collins.
When the park district opened the facility, staff didn’t know how to price rentals. The rate was set very conservatively to see what the interest would be, Executive Director Debbie Kopas said. She believed the increase was justified.
The $3.25 million clubhouse, at the intersection of 183rd and Governors Highway, replaced a facility that was demolished after it had become obsolete once the park district closed Dolphin Lake pool.
Clubhouse guests walk into an ample lobby before moving into the main room decorated in tones of green and beige. The vaulted ceiling and walls of windows offering views of the outside give an airy feel to the space. An accordion wall can divide the space in two. A specially designed events kitchen makes it easy to serve party favors or complete meals.
“Our facility is kind of unique,” Simpson told the board members. “There’s not another facility like it in the area.” Added amenities to the space includes a wrap-around deck, views of Dolphin Lake, a picnic shelter and play equipment.